Social activist Medha Patekar and seven others were arrested on Tuesday when they protested the forceful evacuation of the fishermen community by the BMC and police in Sion Koliwada area.
The police officials thrashed several slum dwellers, including women, when they protested demolition of their houses.
The National Alliance of People’s Movement has condemned the arrest of the activist and demanded there immediate release.
Here is the full statement by NAPM:
In a brazen violation of the traditional rights of the fisherfolks in Sion Koliwada Mumbai police and BMC has started demolishing homes of the people since Tuesday morning.
Amid heavy police presence they started demolishing the homes occupied by the Koli community.
There has been court cases going against the redevelopment plan which is fraught with corruption and irregularities.
There was an unholy nexus among the builders, the politicians and the bureaucrats which needed to be broken.
False consent of the poor and helpless people has been shown by the builder. Signatures have been forged of the people, who are not even alive.
The NAPM’s Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan has been opposing the plans for evictions and demolitions.
The development project is being implement by builder Sudhakar Reddy, who is a prominent follower of Baba Ramdev and is accused of colluding in the illegality along with BMC.
In morning when the demolition squads arrived accompanied by a large police force then residents came out in huge numbers led by Medha Patkar and stood in front of the JCBs and Bulldozers.
Police then beat up and harassed those resisting demolitions. Male police was involved in beating and molesting women protesters too.
Medha Patkar and seven others have been arrested by the Mumbai police on charges of obstructing public officials.
At the same time demolitions are also being fiercely resisted by people in Ambujwadi, Malad where many homes of were demolished earlier as well.
NAPM has been leading the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan struggle for a long time in Mumbai, more specifically in these areas.
The statement stated- “We are hopeful that the people\\\’s struggle will resist fiercely the land grab by the builders in connivance with the state machinery. We will expose the irregularities as we have done in the case of Adarsh Housing Society, Hiranandani Gardens, Golibar SRA by Shivalik Builders and others.”
“We condemn the arrests of the activists of the GBGB-NAPM and assault on the people by the police force who have been resisting peacefully the demolitions and striving to save their habitat and home,” it further said.
Koliwada, indigenous fisherfolk Community have been living in the area from a long time on this patch of the land.
In 1939 Britishers constructed NSP sheds for their own security purposes and they were asked to move to this.
These NSP Sheds then were taken over by the Municipal Corporation after Independence.
Even though these fisher people have lived on the land for more than a century they have been denied their "right to land", due to the policies of the Britishers as well as BMC.
BMC now in the name of development is evicting them and giving away the prime property to the Builders.